By: Geno Cutolo, CEO, Staffmark Group
If you bring up the topic of customer service to a group of people, you’ll likely find that everyone has a story to share. Each of us has received memorable customer service at one point or another. And by memorable, this can be either exceptional or disappointing service. Both leave a lasting impression.
Personally speaking, one of the stories of exceptional service that comes to mind took place at the Hyatt Ziva in Jamaica during last year’s Diamond Club, our annual reward trip for our company’s top performers. The first thing I noticed at this resort was a “signature movement” that all employees did after any customer encounter. They placed their hand on their hearts, and it was explained to me that this meant “service from the heart.” Based on the service we received, the staff really embraced this motto.
There were so many examples of great service at this resort, but one member of the staff really stood out to me. His name was OShawn, and even though he was not officially assigned to our group, he took it upon himself to make sure that we were completely satisfied. On one occasion, he overheard us talking about trying a local favorite food called a Tastee Patty. Without being asked, he left the resort and came back with two boxes of 24 Tastee Patties along with some beer that was not available on the resort. We shared these treats with our entire team and raved about the service we had been receiving throughout our stay. It probably comes as no surprise that we selected a Hyatt Ziva resort again for our Diamond Club trip this year.
Brands Getting It Right
There are many other brands that come to mind when I think of legendary service. Costco has built an impressive employer brand with a reputation for treating their employees well. In turn, their employees are good to their customers.
Zappos is another retailer known for their service. I learned a lot about their customer loyalty department in the book Delivering Happiness by their CEO, Tony Hsieh. Their customer interactions are never about making a quick sale. In fact, they don’t even measure call times. Instead, they care about their team going above and beyond for every customer.
Another iconic brand that consistently creates lasting experiences is Disney. On the flip side, they also know how to “make it right” when customer expectations aren’t met. If a customer has a poor experience, they are quick to offer a gift or another day in the park free of charge. Disney understands that this small financial loss may result in gaining a long-term customer and advocate.
Stories of legendary service and the brands that are getting it right inspire me to think how we can apply that same level of service to our clients, talent, and staff.
Within Staffmark Group, we talk about our company vision quite a bit. Our vision is to change the world – one person, one job, one community at a time. I truly believe that each of us has the power to make the world a better place. When we think about our vision, however, we typically think about jobs. Helping people find jobs is the very heart of what we do as a staffing agency, and we know firsthand the impact that a job can have on an individual and a family.
It’s about more than jobs, however. We can simply make the world a better place by providing legendary service and sharing kindness and compassion. Whether you work for Staffmark Group, one of our clients, or another employer, I encourage you to think about the people you serve every day and the power you have to make an impact. Each of us can make a difference no matter what role we serve within an organization. Serving customers is not a department. It is a responsibility that each of us holds in our hands and hearts.
Tips for Delivering Great Service
If you’re looking for some practical ways to up your customer service game, consider these tips:
Start with your internal customers. Customer service in not just an outside job. Before we can offer great service to our clients, we have to serve each other well. Treat your co-workers with the same level of respect and care as your clients.
Actively listen. Many of us are guilty of listening to reply. While it’s great to have a thoughtful response, if you’re only thinking about what you want to say instead of hearing what the other person is saying, you aren’t really listening. Clients don’t just need answers; they need to “feel heard.” One of the best ways to do this is to repeat what you hear and confirm understanding before providing an answer.
Use technology – but don’t let it use you. We love technology at Staffmark Group, and we have many projects in the works to extend our capabilities and improve our communication. While this is a focus, we must not forget the human element. Take time to craft a personal email message rather than using a canned response. Randomly call or text a client just to check in. There are many simple ways to make a personal connection.
Remember it is ongoing. Customer service is not a project with a start and end date. It’s a practice that takes, well, practice! Talk about customer service with your co-workers and teams often and share your own customer service experiences and how they relate to the work you do. Approach customer service with a continuous improvement mindset.
One of the most amazing things about great customer service is that you don’t have to go to extravagant measures to please and delight your customers. It’s the small things – the attention to detail, a gentle tone of voice, genuine kindness, the giving of your time – that make the biggest impact.
And the best part: each of us, no matter what role we serve within an organization, are capable of providing legendary service and making a difference in the lives of others.